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Showing posts from December 20, 2010


Christmas in Mexico is a mixture of festivity and reverence.  Beginning weeks before Christmas, puestos (market stalls) are set up in the town plazas.  These puestos offer crafts of every imaginable sort, as well as foods and other seasonal items like orchids and poinsettia.  Homes are decorated, and most people attend gatherings of friends and loved ones to celebrate the season.

   The main public celebration of Christmas in Mexico is a beautiful reenactment of events leading immediately to Christ's birth.  La Posada is a religious procession in which participants reenact the search for a room at an inn by Joseph and Mary before the birth of Christ by walking from house to house with figures or images of Joseph and Mary.  Family and friends determine who will be innkeepers and who will be pilgrims.  The pilgrims do the traveling from house to house, where the innkeepers repeatedly turn them away, until they reach the house that has set up the altar and nativity scene.  There t…


The holidays are filled with joyful emotions and honored traditions, including the playing of songs about snowmen, St. Nick, evergreen trees, and presents wrapped up with big bows.  No matter how you celebrate the season, you'll hear these songs on the radio, T.V., at the mall, in the office, and just about anywhere music is played.
   If you think the same songs are played over and over, you're right, but if this bothers you, consider the alternative: Christmas carols were banned in England between 1649 and 1660.  Oliver Cromwell, serving as Lord Protector of Britain, believed Christmas should be solemn and also banned parties, limiting celebration to sermons and prayer services.
   Lots of holiday songs are festive, many have spiritual overtones, and all are played so often that they are familiar no  matter what your faith.  But what do you know about how these songs were created and the people who wrote them?
   There are some fascinating facts behind this memorable mus…


In France, different regions of the nation celebrate Christmas differently, and even at different times.  Most provinces recognized and celebrate Christmas on December 25th, but in northern and eastern regions of France, the Christmas season is officially begun on the 6th day of December. La fete de Saint NIcolas, la fete des Rois, and la Fete de lumieres, honor Saint Nicholas, the Epiphany, and the Virgin Mary.  These holidays are special parts of the French Christmas season.
   Children in France don't hang stockings by the chimney, they place their shoes in front of the fireplace for Pere Noel to fill with gifts. Candy, fruits and nuts, and toys are also hung on the tree Christmas Eve night.  Pere Fouettard, who is basically Santa's Counterpart, gives out spankings to naughty boys and girls.

  In 1962, France passed a law requiring all letters written toPere Noel,  to receive a response, so Santa sends each child a postcard acknowledging their letter and wishing them a h…